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18/11/2013 12:40

1 Friends Mark Tenby hasn’t been at our school for long, but he’s already my best friend. I’ve got lots of other friends, of course, but they just don’t get me in the same way that Mark does. We both support the same football team, both like the same computer games, and we both watch the same TV shows.


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19/11/13 9:54 AM

Some of the other kids at school say that Mark’s a bit weird. He isn’t really; he just does a few things that make him stand out. Like the way he never comes into the dining room at lunchtime. Mark always takes his packed lunch to a quiet corner of the playground and eats his sandwiches there, alone.


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19/11/13 9:54 AM

I asked him why, once, and he just said that the dining room is too noisy for him. Fair enough, I suppose. And once he’s finished his lunch, he always comes and finds me so we can have a game of football. I don’t know what the others are moaning about. Mark’s great at football – better than me, in fact – but I don’t mind because he always makes sure that we play on the same team.


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19/11/13 9:54 AM

One lunchtime, we’d managed to get enough kids together for a game of six-a-side, and Mark had just scored a goal. I helped, though: I was the one that crossed the ball to him, setting him up for the shot. It was a belter, just skimming inside the pile of school bags that was the left goalpost. One–nil to us!


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19/11/13 9:54 AM

“Nice pass there, Al!” he said, patting me on the back. We were just about to kick off again when Mark’s phone rang. I knew it was his, because his ring tone is the theme to our favourite TV show. He pulled it out of his pocket and checked the number.


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19/11/13 9:54 AM

“It’s Mother,” he said with a smile. “I’ll be back in a minute.” Then he jogged over to the side of the playground to answer the call. “He’s always on the phone to ‘Mother’!” teased Omar, one of the boys on the other team. “How posh are they? And she can’t even go for a few hours without ringing her ickle baby Marky-Warky!”


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19/11/13 9:54 AM

The other kids laughed, which I thought was a bit cruel, but it was the truth. Mark’s mum rang him at least three times a day – and he always called her “Mother”. You weren’t supposed to have your phone switched on in school, but Mark always seemed to get away with it. The teachers never caught him. 8

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19/11/13 9:54 AM

“Sorry about that,” grinned Mark as he ran back over to us. “You ready?” “We’ve been ready for ages!” said Omar. That was a lie – Mark had only been a few minutes. 9

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19/11/13 9:54 AM

We kicked off again, but now Omar seemed to have it in for Mark. He started tackling him really hard, and shoving him out of the way whenever anyone passed him the ball. Then he deliberately tripped Mark up as he was about to score again. “Penalty!� shouted the other kids on my team.


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19/11/13 9:54 AM

But I didn’t. Mark was holding his knee, and I was worried that he’d hurt himself. I ran over and crouched down beside him. His trousers were torn, and I expected to see loads of blood where he’d cut himself – but there was none of that. Mark’s skin was ripped back and, inside his knee, there was a long, metal bar and loads of coloured wires. There was even a tiny circuit board, like the ones you get in computers.


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19/11/13 9:55 AM

“What’s wrong with your leg?” I asked, staring. Before he could reply, there was a BEEP as Mark got a text message. He pulled out his phone, and I peeked over his shoulder at the screen. The message said: RETURN HOME NOW. MOTHER. Without saying another word, Mark jumped to his feet, ran across the playground and out of school.


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19/11/13 9:55 AM

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